Stay Warm: Best Winter Hiking Gloves (2022)

I’ve been doing research lately on what to wear to keep your hands warm while hiking in cold weather. It seems there are two paths to warm hands.

Some hikers prefer wool mittens with liners, while others seek out warm hiking gloves for dexterity and easy access to smartphones and camera apps.

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I wear winter hiking gloves, sometimes slipping in hand warmers for added warmth while on the trails, but I had no idea what my hands had been missing.

Here are three top picks for warm hiking gloves (or mittens) you’ll want to be wearing on the trails in winter. Stay toasty out there, friends.

Quick Picks: Winter Hiking Gloves

Smartwool Mittens

Smartwool Knit MItts

A top pick among hikers (really among anyone who likes warm fingers) is Smartwool Mittens, which are made from soft, toasty and warm Merino wool.

You’ll find a variety of styles, but it really comes down to the Smartwool Cozy Mitten and the Smartwool Knit Mitt. Both offer touchscreen compatibility.

These mittens are warm, comfy and washable. The Smartwool Cozy Mitten is bulkier than the Smartwool Knit Mitt, which may be why it has a higher price point.

The two mittens have warm linings to keep fingers warm, but the Smartwool Knit Mitt has more lightweight insulation, which leads to a less bulky feel.

For added warmth, layer in a simple liner glove under the mitten. However, this can give the mittens a more bulky feel and reduce freedom of movement.

These mittens are not waterproof, which is a must to consider if you plan to hike in areas with snow or ice. Wet mittens are never good, especially with windchill.

Outdoor Research VersaLiner Gloves

Outdoor Research VersaLiner Gloves

Outdoor Research has been a household name in technical apparel for several decades, gearing up climbers, backcountry skiers, and paddlers, even hikers.

The company’s primary focus is on suiting up (and keeping warm) fairly hard-core adventurers. They make literally dozens of styles of mittens and gloves.

It can be overwhelming to scroll through row after row of gloves and mittens, but they know what they are doing. One style to love is the VersaLiner.

Outdoor Research VersaLiner Gloves are breathable, reflective, waterproof and wicking. They also come with a rainproof shell for extra water protection.

The waterproof shell hides away into a zipper pocket on the back of the glove. This pocket can also be used to tuck in a hand warmer for each glove.

Grip dots make it easy to grab onto obstacles. The downside to these high-performance winter hiking gloves is that they are not touchscreen compatible.

OZERO Winter Thermal Gloves

OZERO Winter Thermal Gloves

For those who are constantly touching your iPhone to check with AllTrails to make doubly sure you’re still on the trail, these winter hiking gloves are for you.

The OZERO Winter Thermal Gloves provide solid warmth without the bulk. Even into the 20’s (maybe even lower) your hands and fingers will be toasty warm.

These gloves are water-resistant and touchscreen compatible, so there’s no need to take your gloves off to consult with the AllTrails app or snap a photo.

Both the thumb and index finger are coated in a sensitive fabric so you can tap and swipe your smartphone with no problems.

These gloves have grip, too. The palm, middle finger and index finger all have silicone particles so you can firmly grip your phone or your trekking poles.

The glove fabric is windproof to keep brisk winds from cutting through the gloves to your hands. It’s a helpful insurance policy to keep your hands warm.

Wrap-Up Notes: Winter Hiking Gloves

There’s nothing worse than frozen fingers, so it makes sense to ensure you have the the best winter hiking gloves to keep your hands warm and comfortable.

Walking mile after mile with damp, wet gloves and fingers that are chilled to the bone makes winter hiking less fun. Warm hiking gloves or mittens are your friend.

For mittens, Merino wool is the way to go for warmth and comfort. For a power boost, layer in a glove liner, which can further wick away moisture.

Each of the above options will keep your fingers warm in the winter season. It really comes down to personal preference: mittens or gloves.

Winter hiking is fantastic when there are few people on the trails and you can take in the serenity of nature. With toasty warm fingers, of course.

For more winter gear picks (which by the way, make great hiking gifts), check out my Gear Guides.